Satellite News NA V1.4.1
From: Satellite Journal <71165.2032@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 20 Aug 96 12:32:21 EDT
From email@example.com Tue Aug 20 12: 35:52 1996
V1.4 15 August 1996
This news is co-sponsored by TELE-satellit and Satellite Journal Itl.
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Dual DSS/DVB Compliant
Digital Broadcast Satellite Receiver Chip
VLSI Technology, Inc. has announced an innovative,
universal digital satellite receiver device, VES1777,
compliant with both the DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) and
the DSS (Digital Satellite System) set-top box standards.
The VES1777 is a further addition to VLSI's integrated
set-top architecture and is based on and pin-compatible with
the VES1789 architecture_a recently introduced IC for DVB-
compliant satellite receiver applications. This new single-
chip satellite receiver integrates VLSI's true variable-rate
QPSK demodulation and forward error correction (FEC)
functions for set-top box applications in both DSS and DVB
The required mode of either DSS or DVB operation is
simply selected via software through the I2C bus by the
design engineer. The chip enables set-top manufacturers to
design a universal receiver for satellite TV, which can be
used anywhere in the world where the DVB or DSS standards
have been adopted.
The VES1777 universal satellite receiver chip offers
the following DSS and DVB programmable features: half-
Nyquist filter roll-off factor; interleaver depth; packet
length; and Reed-Solomon decoder. The chip also has the
ability to disable the energy dispersion descrambler (a
feature used only for DVB). The device has true variable-
rate functionality which supports any symbol rate from quasi-
DC to 30 Mbaud with the use of only one 60 MHz crystal.
Auto-synchronisation, auto-depuncturing and auto
spectral inversion are all VLSI-unique features that provide
for a simple, easy-to-use solution.
The VES1777 is both 100% DVB- and DSS-compliant. In
addition to its dual-compliance, this chip offers further
key advantages over other available solutions. VLSI's
satellite channel receiver is a completely digital design
allowing true variable-rate operation from anywhere between
1 MHz and 60 MHz (500 Kbaud to 30 Mbaud) without the
limitations imposed by the pseudo variable-rate feature of
other products on the market.
VLSI provides optimal price/performance options for the
needs of each system and each set-top manufacturer. While
other solutions available on the market require the use of
an external voltage-controlled crystal oscillator (VCXO) and
low-pass filter (LPF), the VES1777 operates with only a
simple external crystal for reduced cost and complexity.
The VES1777 satellite channel receiver also includes
Viterbi-rate auto-depuncturing, automatic spectral inversion
resolution support, and advanced bit error rate (BER) output
measurement. Automatic Viterbi rate depuncturing and
spectral inversion resolution support provide for true
automatic synchronisation of the satellite receiver with no
intervention required by the system operator. Advanced BER
output measurements facilitate complete flexibility and
accuracy for satellite dish targeting and tuning. An I2C
interface is integrated to provide necessary flexibility for
command and control of the VES1777.
Arianespace Flight 90
On August 8, 1996, Arianespace successfully launched
two telecommunications satellites: ITALSAT F2 for Telecom
Italia and TELECOM 2D for France Telecom and the French
Ministry of Defence's DGA arms-procurement agency.
Flight 90 was carried out by an Ariane 44L, the most
powerful version of the European launcher, equipped with
four liquid-propellant strap-on boosters. This was the 61st
of 86 Ariane 4 launch vehicles ordered from the European
Lift-off from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French
Guiana took place on Thursday, August 8 at:
7:49 p.m. local time in Kourou,
or 6:49 p.m. in Washington, DC (EDT)
or 10:49 p.m. GMT
or 12:49 p.m. in Paris (Friday, August 9).
Following the launch, Arianespace Chief Operating
Officer and Executive Vice President Francis Avanzi said,
"Flight 90 is the eighth successful Arianespace launch this
year. Our company has carried out 19 launches in the past
18 months, placing a total of 23 satellites into orbit.
This performance confirms what we like to call our
`scheduled' space transport service, using the Ariane 4
launcher today and the Ariane 5 tomorrow."
Provisional parameters at third stage injection into
geostationary transfer orbit were:
Perigee: 200 km (+/- 3 km) for a target of 200 km
Apogee: 3,598 km (+/- 150 km) for a target of 35,985
Inclination: 5.52 degrees (+/- .05 degrees) for a
target of 5.50 degrees.
Developed by Alenia Spazio for the Italian Space Agency
(ISA), ITALSAT F2 is Italy's second telecommunications
satellite. It is equipped with 9 Ka-band transponders, and
weighed 1,990 kg (4,378 lb.) at lift-off, with a design life
greater than seven years. ITALSAT F2 will round out the
services offered by Italsat Fl from Telecom Italia:
telephony, data transmission and digital TV broadcasting.
Aside from its main payload, ITALSAT F2 will carry the EMS
(European Mobile Services) mission dedicated to terrestrial
mobile communications for the European Space Agency.
TELECOM 2D, France Telecom's seventh satellite, is also
the seventh launched by Arianespace, starting with TELECOM
1A, placed into orbit by Flight 10 on August 7, 1984. Built
by Matra Marconi Space and Alcatel Espace in Toulouse
(Southwest France), it weighed 2,260 kg (4,972 lb.) at lift-
off and has a design life of more than 10 years. Telecom 2D
is equipped with 10 C-band transponders, 5 X-band
transponders and 11 Ku-band transponders. Positioned over
the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean), it will provide
telephone links, TV program transmission, and business
communications, both in France and between France and French
overseas departments. TELECOM 2D will also ensure French
armed forces and government communications.
The next launch, Flight 91, is scheduled for September
10. An Ariane 42P launch vehicle will be used to place into
orbit the ECHOSTAR II direct broadcast satellite for the
Denver-based American firm, Echostar. Following Flight 90,
Arianespace's backlog now stands at 42 satellites to be
AFRTS to Use Scientific-Atlanta PowerVu Digital
AFRTS (Armed Forces Radio and Television Service) has
chosen the Scientific-Atlanta PowerVu digital video
compression system to expand its ability to deliver
programming to almost one million American military
personnel and their family members deployed around the
The more than US$5.5 million fixed price contract is
part of a total contract awarded to Scientific-Atlanta which
permits AFRTS to exercise options for additional equipment
in the future.
The combination of limited funding for satellite
transmission costs and a desire to enhance its program
offerings to American service personnel prompted AFRTS to
convert its operations to digital transmission using the
Scientific- Atlanta PowerVu system. The initial portion of
the world-wide satellite television network is scheduled for
operation in the spring of 1997.
"Scientific-Atlanta's B-MAC analogue transmission and
signal protection system has served us well for the last 12
years, but two years ago we started looking at how we could,
in the same transponder space, deliver more than one
television signal and 4 radio signals we were sending out
over B-MAC," said Melvin Russell, director of AFRTS.
The PowerVu Command Centre is designed as a
scaleable system, capable of matching specific features with
customer needs via its four configurations. AFRTS will use
the PowerVu Command Centre 2000, designed for multi-channel
networks of up to 50,000 subscribers, or for smaller
networks requiring extensive decoder flexibility.
PowerVu installations will begin in the fall of
1996 at March Air Reserve Base (ARB), CA; Brewster, WA;
Whitinsville, MA; and Usingen, Germany. Programs will
originate at March ARB and are broadcast to the other three
sites where they are uplinked for distribution to AFRTS
locations around the world. AFRTS uses transponders on the
GE SATCOM SN2, INTELSAT - 707 (Atlantic), INTELSAT - 702
(Pacific), and EUTELSAT II - F2 satellites.
Six television signals
The six channels of television programming will
provide some much-welcomed options for AFRTS viewers abroad
in the 142 countries it serves. Currently, with only one
channel of analogue programming available, viewers are in a
"what you see is what you get" environment. With the new
PowerVu system, viewers around the world will be able to use
an electronic programming guide to select from among a wide
range of programs on multiple channels. The new offerings
- A full-time news and sports channel from all the U.S.
- The Spectrum channel, an alternative television option
with classic movies, mini-series, A&E, Lifetime, Discovery
Channel, and Public Broadcasting-type programming
- Four time-shifted entertainment channels, one each for
the Americas, Europe, and Pacific regions, and a separate
channel for Korea
Each region will get the news and sports channel
and the Spectrum channel plus a time-shifted entertainment
channel designed to provide programming at convenient times
within the region.
Six stereo and two mono radio signals
Music fans in the AFRTS service areas will also
enjoy new options from the PowerVu system's digital audio
transmission features. The new digital radio service will
deliver a number of stations for country, jazz, classical,
rock, adult contemporary, National Public Radio (NPR), news
and sports, as well as some entertainment and talks shows.
A separate data channel will be used for
transmitting a variety of communications to AFRTS stations.
T-1 circuit for file transfers
In addition, to speed the delivery of Stars &
Stripes newspapers, the network's T-1 circuit will be used
to deliver electronic files of the newspaper to regional
centres. There, the paper can be quickly printed for more
The contract also contains an option for providing
entertainment and information to Navy ships. "If the Navy
obtains the funding, we can use the PowerVu system to
deliver TV to its ships at sea. The plan calls for two
television channels, two stereo music channels, a mono news
and sports radio service, and a data circuit to a newspaper
for ship on-board printing," said Melvin Russell, director
Multicanal Acquires 20% of Supercanal
Multicanal, S.A. has acquired a 20% interest in
Supercanal, S.A., an Argentine cable television operator,
for up to $17.7 million in cash, subject to adjustment based
on the number of Supercanal's subscribers. Under the
purchase agreement, Multicanal also will provide programming
and management services to Supercanal.
Multicanal is a strong strategic partner for Supercanal
that will help integrate and co-ordinate the acquisitions
Supercanal is making in western Argentina, as well as
provide improved programming and marketing expertise. The
loan from the ING Baring syndicate will help Supercanal
achieve its expansion strategy, which should transform
Supercanal into a leading cable television operator in
Sea Launch Co. Breaks Ground
Sea Launch Co. continued its on-schedule
march toward a first commercial satellite launch in June of
1998 with ground breaking ceremonies for a 15 acre U.S. home
port facility within the Port of Long Beach.
Officials representing Long Beach, the Port of Long
Beach, Sea Launch Co., and initial launch company customer
Hughes Electronics Corp. participated in the ceremonies,
which kicked off a year long construction effort during
which a 15.66-acre site formerly occupied by the U.S. Navy
will be improved to serve as the base of operations for Sea
The first launch will be conducted for Hughes, which
took part in the ground breaking by announcing that the
payload for the inaugural Sea Launch mission will be the
first of its new-generation, high-power HS 702 satellites,
which will become part of Hughes' Galaxy satellite fleet.
The 15.66 acre site to be occupied by Sea Launch is on
a man-made peninsula known as the Navy Mole, and includes
approximately 202,000 square feet of warehouse, office and
storage space comprising 14 structures built by the Navy
between 1945 and 1989.
Sea Launch will upgrade those facilities, and construct
two new buildings for processing spacecraft and will make
improvements to an 1,100-foot long by 60-foot wide pier for
the docking of its two launch vessels.
The ships, a 430-foot long semi-submersible Launch
Platform and a 620-foot long Assembly & Command Ship, are
under construction in Norway and Scotland, respectively.
Hughes has ordered 10 launches and holds options for
additional launches from Sea Launch. Recently, Space
Systems/Loral announced an order for five launches.
Construction and check-out of Sea Launch facilities in
Long Beach is expected to be complete by October of 1997,
with arrival of the two Sea Launch vessels expected early
1998. The first launch mission sets sail in June 1998.
PanAmSat selects Asia Broadcast Centre
PanAmSat Corporation has signed an agreement with
Singapore-based Asia Broadcast Centre to serve as Asia's
first digital transmission site to the PAS-4 Indian Ocean
Region satellite. The agreement means that for the first
time, broadcasters will be able to use PanAmSat's advanced
multi-channel per carrier (MCPC) service to transmit several
digital channels directly from Singapore to PAS-4. Services
are scheduled to begin in September.
PanAmSat and Asia Broadcast Centre are using Scientific-
Atlanta's PowerVu digital compression system. In April,
PanAmSat announced an agreement with Scientific-Atlanta for
the purchase and installation of the PowerVu system in
various PanAmSat digital transmission sites around the
world. The new agreement with Asia Broadcast Centre will
enable PanAmSat customers to transmit digital signals from
Singapore to PAS-4, which provides extensive coverage of
Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Asia Broadcast Centre is a joint venture between Group
W Network Services, a business unit of Westinghouse/CBS, and
The Yellow River Network, a Singapore-based leader in the
film production industry. Opened in 1995, the centre is the
largest independent, all-digital production, post-
production, playback and uplink facility in the Asia-
Expansion For BBC World
BBC World will launch 24 hours a day in Latin America
from September 1 on Galaxy Latin America. GLA covers 45
countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. BBC World is
currently available in 43 million homes in 111 countries
across Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia but not the U.S.
yet. Rumours surfaced last month that BBC World is talking
to U.S. DBS suppliers and the service could be available by
Arianespace To Launch For Singapore And Taiwan
Matra Marconi Space, Singapore Telecom and Chunghwa
Telecom of Taiwan have selected Arianespace to launch the
two countries' first telecommunications satellite.
Armand Carlier, Chairman and CEO of Matra Marconi Space
and Francis Avanzi, Chief Operating Officer and Executive
Vice President of Arianespace signed in Evry, France, the
launch contract for the ST-1 telecommunications satellite.
The satellite is being built and launched for Singapore
Telecom and Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. of Taiwan. The launch
of ST-1 is scheduled for early 1998 from the European
Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Underscoring the importance of this contract, Francis
Avanzi, COO and Executive Vice President of Arianespace
stated, "This contract marks the entry of two new Asian
operators, Singapore Telecom and Chunghwa Telecom, into the
world of space communications. Through Matra Marconi Space
and Arianespace, Europe has been able to earn the trust of
these two organisations."
Matra Marconi Space won the prime contracting job
for ST-1 in April 1996. The EUROSTAR class satellite and its
payload will be manufactured by the European firm. Weighing
over 3,000 kg (6,600 lb.), the satellite will have a total
power of greater than 6.5 kW and a design life in orbit of
over 12 years. ST-1 is equipped with 16 high-power Ku-band
and 14 C-band transponders. Its coverage zone extends from
the Middle East to the Far East.
CNN International And American Airlines
CNN International will launch a new program sponsored
by American Airlines tailored for international business
travellers and CNNI's global audience interested in American
news. The 15-minute show, called AMERICAN EDITION, will be
produced by the CNNI news operation and will feature United
States news, business and weather reports. American
Airlines will be the exclusive airline sponsor of the
AMERICAN EDITION will premiere on September 2 and be
seen world-wide across all of CNNI's regional program feeds.
It will run Monday through Friday three times each day to
ensure prime day-part exposure in each region.
Apstar 1A now operational
Apstar 1A started service August 1. China has rented eight
satellite transponders from Hong Kong Asia-Pacific
Telecommunication Company, the owners of the satellite. The
eight transponders will replace the ChinaSat-5 by providing
television broadcast services for CCTV, and television
stations in Shandong, Zhejiang, Sichuan provinces and
Xinjiang and Tibet autonomous regions.
Gilat Satellite to use Amos
Following Gilat's demonstration of Internet access via
satellite in Singapore, the company intends to launch a
country-wide trial in Israel starting in September. GCE and
MOST, the national multi-media consortium headed by Gilat,
will provide up to 100 participants with 2-ft. antennas
which will allow users to access the Internet at speeds of
128 kilobits per second, using the country's recently
launched Amos satellite. The pilot, which is planned to run
for at least a few months, will demonstrate the ability of a
medium-sized VSAT network to provide sustained Internet
access, and will help gauge customer satisfaction.
Chinese company to buy eight satellites
The Land Economic Group plans to buy up to eight
satellites before 1999 in part with money raised through a
planned share issue on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The
group owns four Russian-made GALS communications satellites,
two of which were launched from Kazakhstan. GALS-III and
GALS-IV are due to be launched also from the Kazakhstan
space centre, probably in 1998.
GAL-II is leased for $9 million a year to Global DBS
Co., whose shareholders include Loral Corp., General
Instruments Co. and TCFI Cable TV Co. of the United States
and General Telecommunications Ltd/Asian TV network of
China to launch Hughes-built ChinaSat 7
ChinaSat 7, an HS 376 model built by Hughes Space and
Communications Co. (HSC) for the China Telecommunications
Broadcast Satellite Corp. (ChinaSat) is scheduled for launch
Sunday (Aug. 18) aboard a Long March 3 rocket from the
Xichang space centre in south-western China.
There are two launch windows, each about an hour long.
The first opens at 6:25 p.m. Beijing time (3:25 a.m. PDT,
10:25 a.m. GMT), and the second at 8:54 p.m. Beijing (5:54
a.m. PDT, 12:54 p.m. GMT).
In common with most other HS 376 models, ChinaSat 7
will have 24 active transponders. The satellite is expected
to operate 10 years, carrying voice, fax, data, television
and other general communications services in C-band across
China and parts of Southeast Asia.
US and Canadian News
Dish Network Introduces
$199 DBS System Nation-Wide
EchoStar beginning this month will offer its DISH
Network's 18-inch digital satellite system nationally for a
retail price of $199 when the customer purchases an annual
The new pricing will be available with a one-year, $300
subscription to America's Top 40 programming package, with
over 40 of the most popular television channels, including
The Disney Channel, and DISH CD with 30 channels of CD-
Along with the $199 price for the infrared Standard
system, EchoStar is offering the UHF Premium system for a
retail price of $299 with the purchase of the same annual
programming subscription. The UHF system has a dual output
LNBF available for viewing different satellite channels on
two TVs and a remote that allows operation of the satellite
receiver through walls and other objects.
EchoStar recently introduced a lower cost, more fully
featured second generation DISH Network set-top digital
receiver, using the same state-of-the-art, fully MPEG-2/DVB
compliant technology as provided in the first generation
" We test marketed our $199 promotion in areas that were
strongly affected by rising cable rates," said Carl Vogel,
president, EchoStar Satellite Corporation. "The retailer
and consumer response to this was so overwhelming, we
decided to offer the promotion nationally for the remainder
Direct Broadcast Satellite TV on Delta Air Lines
Hughes-Avicom International has installed DirecTv
direct broadcast satellite service onboard Delta Air Lines'
Spirit of Delta B767 aircraft. The service began Aug. 9,
1996, and features news and entertainment delivered by
Hughes-Avicom and Delta Air Lines embarked on this
project to validate the technical and market feasibility of
the airborne satellite broadcast television system for
commercial and corporate aircraft. Datron/Transco provided
the low profile airborne antenna. The antenna is integrated
with other Hughes-Avicom developed avionics to produce the
integrated airborne satellite system.
Programming onboard the Delta aircraft initially
includes CNN, Headline News, Discovery Channel and CNBC.
Shaw Acquires 100 Percent of YTV
Shaw Communications Inc. has received CRTC approval to
acquire the remaining interest in YTV bringing Shaw's
ownership to 100 percent.
"Quality children's programming is of special interest
to Shaw Communications," said J.R. Shaw, Sr., Chairman and
CEO of Shaw Communications, "and YTV has a proven record of
delivering the best. It's Canada's premier youth specialty
network and one of the most widely viewed networks on
Canadian cable - appealing to children of all ages."
YTV was launched in 1988 and currently broadcasts
children's, youth and family television programming to over
seven million cable subscribers across Canada.
Sony announces program
Sony has developed a new product that will allow
multiple dwelling units (MDU), through established system
operators to install a Sony-brand DSS system in each unit
giving apartment dwellers access to DirecTv and U.S.
Satellite Broadcasting programming. The system uses a
single 24" satellite antenna to provide DSS programming to
all units in a building which can, at the same time, receive
local network stations.
In conjunction with DIRECTV Inc., which recently also
announced a program to deliver its programming services to
multiple dwelling units (MDU), Sony has begun to establish a
network of independent system operators to facilitate the
sale, installation and maintenance of Sony-brand DSS systems
in multiple dwelling residences.
Although each installation will be different, Sony's
system follows a basic pattern whereby a single cable is
capable of delivering both DSS programming and local network
stations. In most cases, the solution will work with a
building's existing cable, virtually eliminating the expense
and difficulty associated with adding or replacing cable.
Each subscribing customer in individual apartments receives
the full benefits of Sony-brand DSS, including the
electronic program guide and pay-per-view capability.
Sony's MDU Solution was showcased at the SBCA satellite
show in Nashville, Tenn this past week. The Sony-brand DSS
line-up for MDU applications includes two models: the basic
model, SAT-B2, and the advanced model, SAT-A2. The company
has also designed a multi-room DSS distribution system, MRD-
D1, which enables one satellite receiver to feed multiple
TVs throughout an apartment or condominium. The system
accepts two video inputs as well as cable or off-air antenna
signals for access to local network stations and distributes
the signals to up to five televisions. The two video
sources can be controlled even from another room with Sony's
UHF/RF Remote Commander remote control.
Loral Increases Interest In Space Systems/Loral
Loral Space & Communications Ltd. has increased its
interest in Space Systems/Loral, Inc. to 51 percent.
Loral, which previously had a 32.7 percent interest in
Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), has acquired the 18.3 percent
interest held by certain partnerships affiliated with Lehman
Brothers Holdings Inc.
The other 49 percent of SS/L is owned equally by four
European aerospace and telecommunications companies:
Aerospatiale, Alcatel Espace, Alenia Spazio S.p.A. and
Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG.
FAST Spacecraft Launch Set For Aug. 18
FAST is scheduled to be launched aboard an Orbital
Sciences Pegasus XL vehicle on Sunday, Aug. 18 during a
window which extends from 5:42- 5:50 a.m. EDT. The drop of
the Pegasus from the L-1011 aircraft is targeted to occur in
the middle of the launch window at 5:46 a.m. EDT over the
Pacific Ocean approximately 60 miles offshore from
Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA.
The FAST mission will probe the physical processes that
produce auroras and add significantly to the understanding
of our near-Earth space environment.
NASA TELEVISION COVERAGE OF LAUNCH
Since countdown and launch occurs in darkness there
will be no live coverage on NASA TV. However, live launch
commentary and audio of all Pegasus/FAST briefings will be
available on the V audio circuits which may be dialled at
407/867-1220, 407/867-1240 or 407/867-1260. The schedule
- Aug. 18 at 4:30 a.m. EDT: launch commentary begins
prior to L-1011 departure and concludes after spacecraft
separation approximately 90 minutes later (audio only)
- Aug. 18 at 3:00 p.m. EDT: NASA TV replay of launch
General Instrument Corporation said that an
additional 78 broadband network operators have signed
letters of intent to purchase more than 480,000 GI MPEG-2
digital consumer terminals and related headend hardware. The
commitments are from operators who will use GI's DWT-1000
consumer set-tops for their wireless cable customers, as
well as from operators who will use GI DCT-1000s for their
conventional cable customers. These orders are in addition
to the commitments already received from many of the largest
broadband network operators_including TCI, Comcast, Cox,
Rogers and Shaw_to purchase GI's DCT-1000 set- top
terminals. The addition of these new orders makes total
commitments to purchase GI digital equipment exceed 3.5
million units, with approximately 2 million units currently
The new commitments have expanded the representation of
GI's digital network technology over a broad cross-section
of communities in North America. These communities are
serviced by various types of network operators, including
cable operators, wireless cable operators and telephone
companies that provide cable services.
WHD-TV dedicated as Model HDTV Station
WHD-TV, the Model HDTV Station funded by equipment
manufacturers and some 250 television stations nation-wide,
was formally dedicated with the first public on-air
demonstration of the broadcast and reception of live and
taped digital high definition television (HDTV). The
broadcasts used the Grand Alliance system on which the
proposed FCC digital television standard is based.
WHD-TV, which became the first commercial station to
broadcast and receive live HDTV on July 30, is operated at
host station WRC-TV (Washington, D.C.), owned and operated
WHD-TV has obtained an experimental license from the
FCC to operate on channels 27, 30 and 34. Its purpose is to
provide broadcasters and equipment manufacturers hands-on
experience with the design, operation and evaluation of
equipment needed to transition the nation's analogue NTSC
broadcast system to the digital era. The Model HDTV Station
Project is sponsored by the Association for Maximum Service
Television (MSTV) and the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers
Association (CEMA), a sector of the Electronic Industries
Association (EIA). The project is being implemented by the
David Sarnoff Research Centre.
Jones Intercable sells Jones Satellite
Jones Intercable Inc. announced it has sold its
subsidiary, Jones Satellite Programming Inc. (JSP), to
Superstar/Netlink Group LLC, a Delaware limited liability
The sale of the TVRO programming service is in keeping
with the company's intent to simplify its corporate
structure and to concentrate on its core communications
business. Jones Intercable had sold another non-strategic
asset, Jones Galactic Radio Inc., which operates two audio
programming services, to an affiliated company in June 1996.
EchoStar Reports Second Quarter Revenues
EchoStar reported operating revenues of approximately
$73.5 and $115.0 million for the three and six months ended
June 30, 1996, an increase of 87 percent and 44 percent,
Operating revenues for the same periods, a year ago
were approximately $39.3 and $79.7 million. EchoStar
expects operating revenues to continue to grow throughout
the remainder of 1996 as it expands its distribution
channels and increases subscriber count for the DISH
Network. As of Aug. 12, 1996, EchoStar served approximately
115,000 subscribers nation-wide.
As expected, EchoStar reported net losses of
approximately $22.6 and $29.8 million for the three and six
months ended June 30, 1996, respectively, as compared to
$2.1 million and $4.6 million reported for the three and six
months ended June 30, 1995, respectively. The increase
compared to the prior year related principally from interest
expense on EchoStar's 1994 and 1996 Bond Offerings and
increases in various general and administrative expenses.
EchoStar Answers Cable's Negative Advertising Campaign
EchoStar Communications Corporation has responded to
the negative advertising campaign launched by a large cable
company through an open invitation to the consumer.
EchoStar's DISH Network has been under direct attack by
the cable giant for the alleged shortcomings of satellite
dish technology through print, radio and television spots.
DISH Network's response to these attacks ran once, on
August 12, in the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post in the
form of a full-page advertisement. The ad was an open
invitation from DISH Network President Carl Vogel to
consumers setting the record straight on DISH Network's
service and satellite dish technology. The "invitation to
compare" pointed out the negative campaign was launched by
"the same cable company that is spending hundreds of
millions of dollars attempting to duplicate DISH Network's
technology they now criticise."
The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) in a report is
calling for competition to serve as the guiding principle
during the restructuring of Intelsat and Inmarsat, the
intergovernmental satellite organisations. We have three
--PanAmSat, Intelsat's only global competitor, has
advocated a restructuring approach that would eliminate the
current Intelsat organisation and create several competing
successor companies. This approach would ensure that no
single Intelsat entity could use Intelsat's vast supply of
satellites and orbital positions to dominate the
international marketplace. PanAmSat believes that the
privatisation approach proposed by the Clinton
Administration and Comsat Corp. will not foster
--"The GAO report identifies the anti-competitive market
advantages bestowed upon Inmarsat and INTELSAT by their
treaty-protected status. It marks an important step forward
in promoting the interests of American consumers and
businesses," said Bruce Gerding, TRW vice president and
managing director of the company's Odyssey Services
--EchoStar Communications Corp. wholeheartedly supports the
findings of the General Accounting Office (GAO) report. To
grow and remain viable in the dynamic market for satellite
services, companies like ours need to move quickly to
provide new, more advanced services as soon as consumers
demand them. We depend on a level playing field, which
won't exist if the privatised versions of Intelsat and
Inmarsat are allowed to extend their dominance of the
international marketplace and pre-empt our entry into these
exciting new markets.
In particular, the report expresses concern with the
structure of ICO Global Communications, an Inmarsat
affiliate formed to compete with privately developed
personal communications satellite systems (PCSS). The report
points out that "Inmarsat and its signatories have both the
incentives and the ability to provide ICO with market
advantages over its potential competitors. These advantages
may include access to member countries' markets and
financial benefits such as more readily available
In fact, the GAO report concludes that Inmarsat's
current ownership in its ICO Global affiliate gives national
signatories incentive to "grant access to the affiliate and
to preclude or inhibit access to other competitors even
though the competitors might offer services at lower
The GAO prepared the report for the House Commerce
Committee. The Committee's examination is part of a broad
U.S. initiative to reform the regulation of international
satellite services. The U.S. Federal Communications
Commission and the Administration through the U.S.
Departments of State and Commerce, and the U.S. Trade
Representative are dealing with many of the same issues.
Lack of Uplink Space at Democratic Convention
The broadcast news media face a high-tech parking
problem at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in
Approximately 15,000 media representatives are expected
to cover the convention but available slots for satellite
uplink trucks and satellite transmission facilities at the
United Centre convention site are already reported to be
To solve this crunch for uplink space and facilities at
the convention facility, satellite service providers
SpaceCom Systems and Keystone Communications will work
together to provide an alternative solution.
SpaceCom and Keystone have implemented a direct digital
fibre link from the United Centre to SpaceCom's Chicago
International Teleport facility located south of the Chicago
city limits in Monee, Illinois.
Media companies will utilise this multiple channel
fibre link to connect their reporters on the convention
floor downtown with their uplink trucks parked in the
PRIMESTAR announces PrimeAgent
PRIMESTAR announced its first national incentive
program for satellite dealers. The program, called
PrimeAgent, is designed to complement commissions paid by
PRIMESTAR distributors, offering both monetary and gift
rewards on sales produced from September 1, 1996, to the end
of the year.
PrimeAgent consists of three major components. The
thrust of the program rewards dealers with monetary bonuses
on each sale above three target level tiers: 120 sales, 160
sales and 250 sales. As sales increase beyond each tier, so
do the bonus amounts. Dealers hitting the top bonus level
will earn an additional 20 to 30 percent on top of their
The second component of PrimeAgent rewards the 50
dealers who sell the most systems in the same period with an
all-expenses-paid trip for two to a yet-to-be-named
destination. The third portion of the program is the
establishment of a dealer advisory panel which will bring 10
of the top 50 dealers together with top executives in the
first of an ongoing series of quarterly meetings to discuss
strategic business issues.
PRIMESTAR Introduces Two New Products
PRIMESTAR introduced a smaller-size dish and
infrared remote control range extender at the SBCA Nashville
`96 Satellite Show.
Measuring 27 inches, the new smaller-size dish will be
delivered to distributors in November.
The new dish will be able to receive transmissions from
both the current PRIMESTAR satellite and GE-2, the successor
satellite, scheduled to be launched early next year. That
new satellite will provide subscribers_currently at 1.37
million households_with 50 new channels of digital
programming, bringing total channel capacity to 145.
Also new is an "Around-the-House" remote control
extender kit. A customised transmitter attaches to the
current remote control, allowing the customer the ability to
easily control the service on a secondary TV, even if the
receiver is in a different room. A small base station
(measuring 2-1/2" by 4") plugs into an outlet near the
receiver and transmits converted UHF signals sent from an
infrared transmitter attached to the new remote. The new
remote control extender has a suggested retail price of
$79.95, and shipments have already begun in small
The "Around-the-House" kit comes with an additional
PRIMESTAR remote control unit and also includes batteries
and a tether cord to attach the remote control's base
station to the PRIMESTAR receiver, if needed.
END OF PART ONE
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